Astounding Day

Picuris Peak (in shadow) near Taos, NM

Ten minutes from the house to here »Buy This Photo!«

You know how I’m always posting photos from Taos Valley Overlook about five miles south of Ranchos de Taos, itself three miles south of Taos? The gorge, the ninety-mile views, all that?—there will be more of those coming up, but this is what’s behind me to the south when I take those other pictures. Not a bad place to hike, is it? Picuris Peak is the one in shadow, not the rocky one in front, and just beyond on the other side of the mountains is Picuris Pueblo, one of the smaller ones you don’t hear about so much. A couple of thousand years ago a tribe that lived more or less where you’re looking now—a little to the left, actually—decided to split up: some of them moved to what became Taos Pueblo, and the others went to Picuris. Yes, two thousand years ago. The Spaniards showed up here about four centuries ago. We came in ’99, although I only just now arrived in the full sense of the word.

It’s good to be somewhere, isn’t it? I’ve spent a considerable portion of the last fifteen years trying to be all kinds of places. Meanwhile, look at where I’ve been! I did not fuck up, in other words. The voices in my blood from childhood are simply wrong. Yesterday, while walking three and a half miles virtually all alone in this beautiful place, I felt flooded with joy. At one point I was startled to realize that the stream of thoughts inside my head for the previous few minutes had been a happy one without conditions. It took up my whole mind! The usual quiet nasty business wasn’t there.

I told my wife, and she said, “See? That’s how it is.” She’s been saying that for years, but I could never feel it.

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John Hamilton Farr lives at 7,000 feet in Ranchos de Taos, New Mexico, U.S.A. As New York Times best-selling author James C. Moore tells it, John is “a man attuned to the world who sees it differently than you and I and writes about it with a language and a vision of life that is impossible to ignore.” This JHFARR.COM site is the master writing archive. To email John, please see CONTACT INFO on About page. For a complete list of all John’s writing, photography, NFTs, and social media links, please visit JHFARR.ART  

  • Duncan April 22, 2015, 12:20 PM

    Voices in the blood. A wonderful expression of that which persecuted us our whole lives. A millstone which prevents us from being what we are. And so we live with this millstone.

    A virtual symbol constantly reminding us of what we should have been, where we should be living, what we should have achieved.
    How we fucked up and, continue to fuck up!

    Things change, we are individuals after all.
    Dancing to the drum that beats within us, yet denying its call.
    Because it doesn’t conform to some fucked up idea of what we should have been.

    Blessed are you who have “got there”.
    Celebrate that thought, cling to it and live for you!
    And spare a moment when you can for the legions of us who resist the call of that drum inside and, who continue to bow to the voices in the blood.

    • JHF April 22, 2015, 1:05 PM

      Great comment! The day before the above experience, I was as messed up as I’ve ever been. I’d been looking through old papers and the like, cleaning out my files, and must have seen too many triggers. I was this close to lighting everything on fire.

      How we get from there to everything is perfect is a stretch, but catching just a glimpse is cool as hell.

  • Glenn April 26, 2015, 8:14 PM

    Damn I am glad spring is returning to Taos. Along mid winter I was starting to wonder how your wife puts up with you. 🙂

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